(EEOC) recently issued updated guidance on the subject of employer use of applicants’ criminal records in hiring decisions. The EEOC guidance for employers explains that under Title VII laws, employers cannot deny employment based on arrests or criminal convictions unless the offense is job-related.
The EEOC guidance is long overdue. Roughly 65 million adults in the U.S. have been arrested or convicted and the increased availability of computer-based arrest and conviction records has provided the tools for employers to illegally discriminate against these individuals during the hiring process.
The increased use of background checks has contributed to discrimination against applicants with arrests or convictions. Studies have found that applicants with criminal records are 50 percent less-likely to receive a callback for a job interview.
The new EEOC guidance clarifies the legal standards that employers are required to follow when hiring. The new guidance reaffirms that it is illegal for employers to ban applicants with criminal records or arrests from the hiring process, with very few exceptions. The guidance states that an arrest alone is not evidence of illegal conduct and may not therefore be used as a primary reason to deny employment.
The EEOC guidance also clarifies employer standards for applicants with criminal convictions. For applicants with criminal convictions, the employer should examine the seriousness of the crime, how long ago the offense occurred and whether the offense relates to the current job opening.
Even with these guidelines, clients continue to be discriminated against by potential employers. At VIB Law we are often able to get your arrest record sealed or prior conviction cleared expunged.